The downward-facing dog - great for the mind, body and soul - but how about some yoga for the face? We asked face yoga expert Danielle Collins to teach us her simple facial exercise regime, which helps lift, firm, tone and reduce wrinkles. Try this easy 20-minute routine, six times a week.Firstly, it's hailed as a non-invasive alternative to Botox and surgery, but how exactly will doing facial exercises help banish fine lines, sagging and wrinkles?
Danielle says: 'The exercises work the hypodermis or the lower layer of the skin, the dermis or the middle layer and the epidermis or the upper layer.
'By working all these layers correctly it will increase the blood circulation, allowing more oxygen and more nourishment to reach the cells of the skin. The result is a clear, healthy complexion with a beautiful glow which has less toxins and has a better ability to absorb moisture.'
The techiniques are also designed to stimulate collagen and elastin production in the middle layer of the skin giving you a smoother, more supple, tighter-looking skin.
Danielle recommends that you do the facial exercises for 20 minutes, six times a week. It may seem like a lot, but you'll see results quickly. 'Everyone has different faces so the time it takes to see changes varies from person to person,' says Danielle. 'As a general rule you will start to see more of a long term improvement in your face and neck after two weeks. After 2-4 months, you will notice you have less fine lines and less tension and people will notice you look healthier and more energised. Within 6-9 months people have reported that they look and feel many years younger and feel more relaxed within themselves.'
Here are five facial exercises from The Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method to get you started:
1. The V
Good For: Drooping eyelids, crow's feet, eye bags and puffiness.
Alternative To: Botox and eye surgery.
Step 1: Press both middle fingers together at the inner corner of the eyebrows, then with the index fingers, apply pressure to the outer corners of the eyebrows.
Step 2: Look to the ceiling, and raise the lower eyelids upwards to make a strong squint, and then relax.
Step 3: Repeat six more times and finish by squeezing eyes shut tightly for 10 seconds.
2. The Smile Smoother
Good For: Cheek lines and sagging skin.
Alternative To: Lower face lift and fillers.
Step 1: Hide the teeth with the lips to make an 'O' shape with the mouth.
Step 2: Smile widely while keeping the teeth hidden and repeat six times.
Step 3: Next, hold the smile shape while placing one index finger on the chin. Then start to move the jaw up and down as the head tilts gently back. Relax and repeat twice more.
3. Smooth The Brow
Good For: Horizontal forehead lines.
Alternative To: Botox.
Step 1: Place both hands on the forehead facing inwards and spread all of the fingers out between the eyebrows and hairline.
Step 2: Gently sweep the fingers outwards across the forehead, applying light pressure to tighten the skin.
Step 3: Relax and repeat 10 times.
4. The Flirty Eyes
Good For: Deep eye hollows and drooping eye brows.
Alternative To: Eyebrow lift.
Step 1: Place an index finger under each eye, pointing towards the nose.
Step 2: Hide the teeth and tease the top lip and bottom lip away from each other at the the mouth.
Step 3: Flutter the upper eyelids while gazing at the ceiling for 30 seconds.
5. The Giraffe
Good For: Lines and loose skin on the neck.
Alternative To: Neck lift and jowl lift.
Step 1: Looking straight ahead, place the finger tips at the bottom of the neck and lightly stroke the skin downwards with the head tilted back.
Step 2: Bring the head back down to the chest and repeat twice more.
Step 3: Finally, jut the lower lip out as far as possible to pull the corners of the mouth down and place finger tips on the collarbone with the chin pointed upwards. Hold for four deep breaths.
Learn how to do these five facial exercises in our exclusive video below, plus there's one extra face-toning yoga move in there, just for you...